CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The 29 members of the task force charged with addressing issues with the state Public Employees Insurance Agency must come to the table with an open mind, according to one of the task force members.

Greg Burton

Brickstreet Insurance CEO Greg Burton, who played a key role when the state got out of the workers’ compensation business in 2005, said it would be premature to say what is the best path for the fix of PEIA.

“There are a lot of moving parts to this and until we sit down and fully understand the entire system and what you can do there–I just don’t know where it will end up at the end of the day,” Burton said during a recent appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.”

The task force, which was created by Gov. Jim Justice through executive order in an attempt to end the nine-day education workers strike, held an informational meeting last week. It’s next meeting is April 10 at the state Culture Center where chairman Mike Hall has said there will be a full explanation of how PEIA operates. Burton agrees that’s the right first step. He said once the task force understands the system it can then began talking about possible fixes. Burton said that will also need discussion.

“What does it mean to have a fix? What’s that definition? That definition is going to be different probably for every person who is on that committee,” Burton said.

Burton said one of the things he’s interested in is the reimbursement rate the state pays to medical providers through PEIA and whether it should it be increased. He said the cost of such an increase would have to be reviewed.

When workers’ comp transitioned from a state-run system to a private system “there was pain for everyone,” Burton said, but it ended up being the right move.

Burton said a lot of hard work is going to have to happen in the next four to eight months.

“I hope everyone comes to the table with an open mind and in the end we try to come up with the best thing,” he said.

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